Municipal Court Procedures

 

Persons appearing in Municipal Court have been charged with a violation or violations of one or more ordinances of this city. When you are called to come forward, the charge or charges the city has made will be read to you. You may then plead guilty, not guilty or guilty with an explanation as to each charge.


If you plead not guilty, your case will be set for trial. At the trial, the Prosecuting Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the essential elements of the charge the City has brought against you. At the trial, you have all the rights of any defendant in a criminal trial in the state of Missouri. Among those rights are the right to be present when witness testifies against you, the right to ask those witnesses questions, or have your lawyer ask them questions. You have the right to call witnesses to testify on your behalf in the case. You have the right to testify in the case if you want, but you cannot be compelled to testify. If you do not testify, no inference may be drawn from your remaining silent. If, after a hearing before the municipal judge, you are convicted, you have the right to a trial de novo in the county circuit court.


Each person has a right
to be represented by a lawyer of his or her choice at his or her own expense, at any stage of this proceeding. If you want to hire a lawyer, tell the Judge you would like to do so, and your case will be continued for a reasonable time for this purpose.


If you plead guilty
, you are saying you admit what you did violated the ordinance. You give up your right to a trial and to an appeal. If you plead guilty, the Judge will generally set a fine. The Prosecuting Attorney may state a position on behalf of the City, and you may make a statement or give an explanation about the circumstances in your case.


If you plead guilty with an explanation
, you have an opportunity to tell the Judge something you feel is important concerning the circumstances or facts surrounding your case. It may or may not affect the sentence you receive. An example is to plead guilty with an explanation to not producing an insurance card when requested to do so by the police officer. If there was insurance on the car you were driving at the time of the stop, and you could not at the time find the card, but now you have located it, you may show it to the Judge. That may affect the outcome of your case.


If you are on the docket for a payment
, the Judge expects a payment on the night of court. If you do not have your payment, you should take time now to secure some monies or the Judge may place your case on the docket after the trials. Payment plans will be enforced.